Christmas Pudding

Even if Stir-Up Sunday has come and gone, it’s not too late to make Christmas Pudding. Frankly, this pudding tastes so lovely you could make it on Christmas Eve (or even Christmas morning!!!) and it would still taste lovely. Try to steep the fruit in the alcohol overnight if you can but if not, it’s not the end of the World, keep calm, it’s Christmas!

Stir-Up Sunday

The 5th Sunday before Christmas and the last before Advent. In the old Anglican Book of Common Prayer the Collect that day was ‘Stir up we beseech thee, O Lord, the will of thy faithful people …’ This was taken to be the perfect time to make the Christmas puddings and cakes and do a bit of physical stirring as well.

Continue the tradition by gathering any available family members to stir the pudding and make a wish. Remember to stir from east to west in memory of the three wise men travelling to Bethlehem from the East.

Centuries ago, the ‘plums’ in plum pudding meant any kind of dried fruit but a few actual dried plums make it extra luscious. Butter is used in this recipe instead of the traditional suet and there are no breadcrumbs for extra lightness.


Zest the orange and grate the apple and carrot in short, sharp up and down movements to avoid long strands.

Serves 6

  • 300g mixed dried fruit and peel
  • 100g soft-eating prunes, quartered
  • 100ml sherry, rum or brandy
  • 50g salted butter
  • 2 rounded tablespoons black treacle
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • Juice of same orange
  • 1 small dessert apple, grated (peeled or unpeeled)
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
  • 50g plain flour

You will need a buttered 1 litre basin, greaseproof paper and string

Steep the dried fruit in the alcohol overnight.

Next day, melt the butter and treacle and stir into the mixture. Stir in the spice, orange zest, apple, carrot and orange juice.

Fold in the flour gradually and pour the mixture into the basin to within a finger’s breadth of the rim. Steam in the usual way or cook as below.

To Microwave

Cover the pudding with greaseproof paper, pleated to allow for expansion, tie securely with string.

Microwave on full power for 2 minutes and rest for one minute. Repeat until the pudding has had 10 minutes cooking time in total.

Stand for 10 minutes before turning out. Cool completely and wrap in greaseproof paper and foil. Store in a cool, dry place until Christmas.

To reheat: unwrap and microwave in a buttered basin, covered with clean greaseproof paper tied with string, on full power for 5 minutes. Rest halfway through for one minute.

Stand for 2 minutes before turning out.

In the Slow Cooker

Cover the pudding with a disc of buttered greaseproof and then with a roomy hat of foil and fold and pinch it securely round the rim.

Stand it in the slow cooker and pour just-boiled water from the kettle halfway up the side of the basin.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Cool, turn the pudding out, re-wrap and store as before.

To reheat, in a buttered basin, cover the top with buttered greaseproof and foil as previously. Cook on low for 4 hours (it won’t mind cooking a bit longer if dinner is held up).